Marina Squerciati loves playing with her baby at Stages Performing Arts in Chicago
To millions of fans, Marina Squerciati, 34, is known as the tough-as-nails-softie Officer Kim Burgess on Chicago P.D., but to her daughter, she’s mom.
What was it like for you the first time you saw your daughter?
I find that people are incredibly positive and happy-go-lucky about their experience, and I feel like that’s not always truthful and it makes other people feel less-than when they don’t have that experience. I didn’t have an incredible surge of love; I didn’t have an incredible non-surge of love. I just was like, “Oh, this is a new part of my life.” It was just not there. It took a couple months, and people were like, “Oh you will feel it, you will.” And I did. And now … I really do absolutely love her and have such joy and so much fun with her. But it took a little bit of time and I’m not ashamed to say that. … [Now] when my kid’s in the room, I’m just gaga.
Are there certain things you’re trying to instill in her as she grows?
I have three adjectives in my head whenever I’m parenting, [but] it’s not like I wake up and am like “This is my mantra for the day.” I want her to be brave, I want her to be confident and I want her to be kind. … I don’t dress her in pink and frills and stuff like that, but I also want to respect that if that’s what she wants as a woman, she’s allowed to choose that. If she doesn’t want to be a badass, that’s fine too. I just want her to choose and be confident in her choices. … I want her to be safe, but I also want her to be brave, and I don’t want to sort of swoop her up in every single instance. … Inside I’m pretty uptight, but I really am trying to parent in a more low-key manner.
Was it hard to get back to filming shape post-baby?
Because I was fit beforehand, I thought I would just bounce back. I’d be like, “I’m fine, I can do it” [and] get back to the gym. I remember [asking] my doctor, “When can I get back in the gym?” He said six weeks. I was like, “Pshaw, what about four?” And he was like, “I don’t recommend it.” I was like “… But can I do it?” He was like, “Yeah, I guess so.” And at four weeks I was like, “Oh, hell no!” I don’t think I went back to the gym until eight months, and I’m only now at nine months feeling like my body’s mine again. … We sort of play down how hard [giving birth] is on the body and how much you need to recoup. We’re such a busy, do-it-all culture that if you can, take the time to sort of be still and heal. I think that’s good. Not even just physically, but emotionally. You don’t have to start being yourself four weeks later. A mom friend of mine encouraged me to go sit in a sauna for 30 minutes, just to have a few minutes, and I was a better mom that day. I worked hard and I needed a few minutes to decompress and I took that. I can’t lie and [say] I didn’t feel a little guilty. But I did it, and it felt good.
What is it like raising your daughter here in Chicago?
People are so nice and kind and supportive. … There’s a feeling to Chicago that I don’t think you could replicate in another city. … There is so much to do here. You can go to the library, Cat & Mouse has a reading [time], Open Books has readings on Tuesdays, Juicebox. Everything’s so close and accessible, it’s just so cool.
Spectra breast pump, Dr. Brown’s bottles, Ergo Cocoon Swaddle and Stages Performing Arts
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.